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Cost Of Sales: Metal Waste Containers

Productivity increased by > 30% across multiple departments within three months


Metal waste and recycling containers

Project Length

3 months - 2 consultants leading multiple teams


Increase capacity, avoid additional costs for customers and implement a lasting legacy of ongoing improvement


  • Increased productivity by 30-40% across multiple departments
  • Reductions in labour and plastic waste costs which allowed for investment in new tooling and put a limit on costs for customers
  • Full time process engineer hired
  • Reducing plastic waste also confers sustainability benefit
"During the project, we've made the company ready for investment - the team has seen this, and it has lifted morale. Our new Process Engineer (full time improvement leader) is seen as a really positive addition.
"We've invested in five new tools in roto-moulding, and have a process in place for refurbishment of our other tools. The team has rightly been asking for years for these to be replaced. Now having made improvements we are in a position where we can reinvest savings back into the business and it is great to see the ownership the team has taken now their concerns have been listened to".
- Tony Nunn, General Manager.

Why was Chartwell brought on board?

Taylor, a strong business with a high profile presence in the UK waste container market was recently acquired by a private equity company.   They wished to reduce cost of sales to enable re-investment in the business, with the ultimate aim of being able to produce a wider range of products and serve an increasingly global market opportunity.

An initial assessment by Chartwell focused the improvement efforts on two areas of the business:

  • Increasing capacity in Finishing (new container painting and finishing) by 30% to 40%, without a corresponding increase in manufacturing costs
  • Increase plastic lid manufacturing efficiency and reduce polymer waste to significantly lower the production costs whilst keeping output stable 

Key Workstreams

Plastic Waste Reduction

  • Rotomoulding was experiencing significant over usage of polymer with on average lid weights 20% higher than the original design specification.
  • Working closely with the operators, it was learned that extra powder was being added to the mould since operators otherwise experienced problems where the lids failed to form properly in some specific areas of the mould - extra powder compensated for this. 
  • Root cause analysis of the probelm identified that the placement of the cooling pipes was not optimal for the mould shape.
  • A series of trials were conducted to reposition them to correctly distribute the molten plastic, resulting in perfectly formed lids across all parts of the mould, completely eliminating the problem and enabling operators to feel confident in dosing the correct amount of powder.

Rotomould Efficiency Improvement

  • The theoretical capacity of the department was almost double demand, but inefficiencies meant that roto-moulding was making only just enough with two shifts plus overtime.
  • Investigating the losses, the team discovered that the problems found during the manual, time-consuming process of lid finishing was reponsible for significant time losses.
  • By upgrading the condition of the tools, this finishing stage required less manual intervention and became easier for the operators. Taylor invested money to update tools, as well as purchasing new tools which are most commonly used.
  • Through a voluntary redundancy process, the shift pattern was reduced from two to one, while the new technical improvements meant that customer demand could still be met and exceeded.

“Since we have gone to a single shift the dynamic in the plant has completely changed. There is a much stronger team spirit.” - Tony Nunn, General Manager

Ongoing Improvement Processes

“When Chartwell left, we had a prioritised list of actions to drive the new initiatives to bottom line realisation. We get regular support from Andy (Chartwell Partner) who comes in to talk to us and review how we are progressing.

There is always a time in a business’s development where bringing in outside support becomes strategically advantageous and having seen the benefit of the improvement efforts we decided to take on a Process Engineer full time. Additionally, now we can produce more, we can sell more – we are in the process of investing in expanding the capabilities of our marketing team.”
Tony Nunn, General Manager